IUI vs IVF – Comparing the Processes2024-03-26T14:09:46-06:00

IUI vs. IVF: Comparing the Processes

Two of the most commonly used fertility treatments methods are intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). Even though these procedures have been used successfully for many decades, people often confuse the two and are unaware of the differences between them. While both fertility treatments are used to achieve the same goal (a healthy baby), the processes are quite different.

What is IUI?

IUI, also known as “artificial insemination,” is a procedure that involves placing sperm directly into the uterus. The process helps a higher concentration of healthy sperm get closer to the egg increasing the chance of conception.

The IUI process is often done in conjunction with taking fertility medications, such as Clomid, to stimulate the body to grow multiple eggs. After taking the medications, your fertility doctor will monitor you closely with blood tests and ultrasounds and will schedule the insemination to coincide with ovulation.

Your partner will provide a sperm sample (or donor sperm can be used), which is specially washed and prepared. During this process, the sperm is separated from the semen, and chemicals are removed which could impair fertility. The sperm is placed into a thin catheter, which is then inserted into the vagina and injected into the uterus. It is a quick and relatively painless procedure.

What Is IVF?

Similar to IUI, the IVF process starts off with taking fertility medications to stimulate the ovaries to produce an increased number of eggs and careful monitoring by your doctor through blood test and ultrasounds.

When your eggs are mature, your fertility doctor will “retrieve” them by inserting a very fine needle through the vagina into the ovary to remove the eggs. The entire process is performed under general anesthesia, so there is only minor discomfort, if any.

The fluid is then examined by embryologists to isolate the eggs, and then the eggs are fertilized with the washed and prepared sperm. In instances of severe male factor infertility, a single sperm is injected into each egg through a procedure called ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection).

The embryos are then grown to the blastocyst stage (day 5 or 6). At this point, the embryos are examined and this is when preimplantation genetic testing of embryos can be performed. The healthy embryo(s) can either be transferred into the uterus or frozen, or cryopreserved, until you are ready.

What is the cost of IVF vs. IUI?

There are a few different costs associated with fertility treatments. Depending on a few variables, including if you use medication or not will depend on the total cost of your fertility treatment.

IUI often includes monitoring as well as the insemination process and may or may not include medication; if you decide to go the route of no medication it can cost upwards of $1000 or more per cycle. Depending on if you choose oral or injectable medications, you could see on average another $100 to $2000 added to the total cost of your fertility treatment per cycle.

IUI is considered a much simpler fertility treatment to undergo, there is much less involved in fertilizing that egg with this treatment than IVF.

One cycle of IVF which will include all monitoring, egg retrieval, as well as embryo transfer will cost anywhere between $12,000-$20,000; this is all dependent on the state as well as the clinic that the IVF fertility treatment is done at. This does not include medication; if you do want to include medication it needs to be the injectable kind, which would cost an additional $2000-$6000. These costs are estimates only, and our estimates are on a per-cycle basis.

To get a more specific estimate for your fertility treatment, it is best to speak to one of our fertility specialists today.

Do you accept insurance for IVI and IUI?

With CCRM’s Nationwide Network of Clinics, you can take advantage of our wide range of accepted insurances. For more information on the insurances we accept, contact CCRM Fertility location near you for more details.

Choosing the Right Fertility Treatment for You

Deciding between IUI and IVF can be a pivotal step in your journey toward parenthood. IUI, known for being more affordable and less invasive, often serves as the initial treatment option for couples facing mild male factor infertility, unexplained infertility, or for women under 40. On the other hand, for women who have not found success with IUI, have advanced endometriosis, or have blocked fallopian tubes, IVF stands out as the preferred method, offering a higher likelihood of success. Both treatments have played crucial roles in helping countless families worldwide fulfill their dreams of pregnancy.

How to Determine Whether IUI or IVF Is Suitable for You

IUI and IVF represent the forefront of fertility solutions today, addressing the challenges many couples face in conceiving. The path to selecting the right treatment begins with comprehensive testing and a thorough physical examination by a fertility specialist. The insights gained from these evaluations guide the recommendation of the most appropriate treatment option, tailored to your unique situation. Our specialists can also provide an estimation of your chances of conceiving, whether naturally or through each type of fertility treatment.

Typically, many couples embark on their fertility treatment journey with IUI due to its less invasive nature compared to IVF. The process involves directly inserting specially prepared sperm into the uterus during ovulation, enhancing the sperm’s opportunity to fertilize the egg. This “washing” process enriches the sperm sample with the most motile sperm, increasing the likelihood of successful fertilization. By placing the sperm closer to the egg, IUI aims to expedite the fertilization process, offering a simpler path to pregnancy.

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